Weaver gets bigger to pitch deeper …
At one point last season, Jered Weaver stepped on the scale, saw “199” and committed himself to getting bigger.
On Sunday night, 25 days before reporting for Spring Training, the Angels’ ace weighed in at a career-high 224.
“I’ve never been higher than 218,” Weaver said. “I don’t know if my metabolism is slowing down from getting older or what, but I feel good.”
For Weaver, heading into his age-32 season, it’s all about having the strength to pitch deeper in games.
While going 18-9 with a 3.59 ERA last year, the 6-foot-7 right-hander averaged about 6 1/3 innings per start, which basically coincides with his career rate. But he has his sights set on something similar to his 2011 mark, when he averaged 7.13 innings while finishing second in American League Cy Young Award voting.
“Numbers-wise it was all right,” Weaver said of 2014, “but from a personal standpoint, me being me and ultra competitive, I want to get deeper in games. The bullpen helped me a lot last year. I just want to gain some strength. I went to different lifting last year. It’s been paying off. I’m going to stick with it.”
Weaver was one of several current and former Angels – along with Josh Hamilton, Adam Kennedy and Troy Percival – attending a charitable bowling event at Bowlmor Lanes to benefit The Eddie Guardado Foundation, which helps children with autism.
While trying to ease the tension of a balky biceps tendon the last handful of years, Weaver pretty much chose resistance training over free weights. In mid-April, though, he scrapped that program, incorporated more heavy lifting and immediately noticed the results.
This offseason was simply the continuation of that, with more snacks in between.
“It’s easier to maintain it now,” said Weaver, who threw his first bullpen session on Sunday. “Once you get on the field and put the cleats on, start running around, that will be the true test, especially when it heats up in Arizona. I’m going to try to maintain it and see what happens.”
Weaver doesn’t know if it’ll help with his fastball velocity – “I don’t care about velocity,” he said, as usually – but is curious to see how much stronger it makes him throughout the season.
“I just want to be stronger for the whole nine innings,” he said. “If velocity comes along, so be it. I think I’ve shown I can pitch from 83 to 93 [mph].”
Weaver tries not to pay much attention to offseason moves, but he couldn’t ignore the Howie Kendrick trade of Dec. 11, a move that sent the veteran second baseman to the Dodgers for young starter Andrew Heaney. Weaver and Kendrick had been together since their Class A days, and Weaver admitted it was “a little tough to swallow.”
“Offensively it will be tough to make up those numbers, but the organization is going to try to fill in the pieces,” Weaver said. “We’re going to have a pretty good squad.”